Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CBTL Single Press Coffee Machine Review

Everyone loves a cup of Joe. He is everyone best friend. You wake up to him. The smell of Joe early in the morning was said to come close to smelling fried bacon in the morning - it awaken all senses.
For this year's wedding anniversary and as a housewarming gift to wifey, i got her a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) single press machine.
Anniversary surprise, but as usual, i don't wrap presents.
The CBTL machine is named Kaldi. They are actually OEM by Caffitaly and the equivalent model would be S04. It is also known as Caffitta System and used extensively to make espresso and other coffee drinks at home. It only works with a capsule system that has pre-measured quantity of coffee.
Starter pack comes with 12 varieties and FOC if you purchase the unit online
By inserting the capsule into the machine, a high pressure hot water will be forced through the capsule (after being punctured at the front and back by the machine) and you will get your extracted coffee.
The unit we got is deep red and it is simple to use. You can use them to make espresso (small cup : 2-3oz of potent caffe) or double espresso, caffe crema (medium cup : 4oz) or just have a cafe latte or tea (large cup : 12oz). There is a water reservoir behind the unit which stores up to 40 oz of liquid, which is good enough to make four full cup of regular coffee.
The system claimed to come with dual-pressure system of which will automatically press 15bar or 7.5bar to obtain perfect espresso or brewed coffee out.
Espresso, Caffe or Tea?
The unit fits various sizes of mug with the stainless steel mug holder being able to be flipped or removed. Versatile enough but don't expect to fit in a thermo mug to take your coffee on the go. For that, i suggest you use another mug as a transition between the machine and your thermo mug.
Why did i get this for wifey if you ask. For one, we love coffee and tea. While the usual instant coffee will do the trick, it sometimes comes out flat and you will need to add sugar, milk etc to make them "drinkable". Buying canned coffee that tasted delicious is actually unhealthy as they are laden with trans-fat via usage of creamer and artificial ingredient such as food conditioner and color improver.
The CBTL capsule is affordable at RM2.10/capsule. That is about the price of an usual Kopi-peng (ice coffee at local coffee shop). In fact, it is already cheaper than paying at the branded Kopitiam franchise. A box of 10 capsules sets you back RM21 - the price of two brewed coffee at the same outlet ;-)
Only catch is that the machine is expensive to buy. However, it is not as expensive as one would had thought. At RM980, it is half the price of other single press machine that you can buy from shops selling coffee machine. Only thing missing is the milk frother or warmer. This will be covered in a separate review as frothing milk is actually an art by itself!
This single press is widely used by smaller cafe as they provide fast ROI (return of investment) as they could serve delicious espresso/brewed coffee/tea at a very low cost. Here is a short calculation.
Per Capsule : RM2.10
Milk 150ml : RM0.675 (1liter fresh milk is about RM4.50)
Electricity/Water : RM0.50 (this is like damn gross estimate. Unit consume 950W/hour which is actually 30sen max/kWh. Water is free in Selangor)
Total cost : RM3.275/cup
Sell it at about 300% mark up will brings it to RM9.825 which will be enough to cover for other incidental. Perfect for a small business set up.
Business Possible
Now compared this to the usual "drip-brew" machine that needs filter (usually paper but some has inbuilt) and extensive cleaning. There are many parts to remove to be cleaned and they are often one reason why we do not brew our coffee as often (we have stocks of local Kluang Coffee, Tenom Coffee at home). This Single Press machine has ONE removable tray where they can store up to 10 used capsules and a drip pan large enough to hold a cup of water. All you need to do is remove the tray and wash! The unit is self cleaning as you just need to press any "cup size" to rinse the residue out. Descaling is recommended depending on usage.
There was no regret "investing" in this machine though for light drinker like us, it will take up to 100 cups of Coffee to get the ROI (on the machine alone). But that is perfectly alright as we can get to enjoy a nicely brewed coffee or espresso anytime of the day.
Espresso On The Way!
The unit when in operation, creates a slight humming sound (as the hot water is being forced through the capsule) and the coffee will comes out instantly. To ensure every drip is obtained, leave the cup there for another 10 seconds and you won't lose anything. If you like your coffee black, you will not need any milk or sugar. This machine will be perfect and easily maintained for you. If you love your latte and wants some milk froth to go with it, come back to this blog soon and i will offer you a few solutions.
Meanwhile, let me make one cuppa and sit at my corner to enjoy it while watching the kids run around the house.


  1. I have one next to my bed. :)

  2. Jonie - and it's connected to tubing and intravenous needle?

  3. TriStupe, i used this machine for some 3 months already. very handy to have, only problem the foamer is always kaput. good thing though, they replace it FOC each time.

    happy holidays

  4. Got trick to it (the foamer), will post it tomorrow. :)

  5. nice! i've always wondered about this one whenever i pass them at the retail outlets. how's the cleaning process like?

  6. Jamie - just pull out the bottom where the cup sits and just rinse off. :) No messy dirty coffee residue.

  7. Wow, this come at a really nice timing. I was actually thinking of getting one myself but still contemplating whether to get this or a Nespresso machine. The only trouble with Nespresso is that i have to go down south to Singapore to get the machine as couldn't seems to find a retailer that carry this product. Am wondering how does the espresso taste from this machine? Nespresso taste just wonderful.

  8. Hey Patrick - thanks for dropping by this humble blog.

    I do not have any experience with Nespresso. Sorry about that. But i can tell you that the espresso that is churned out by this machine is at and beyond my expectation. It makes a consistent shot and cuppucino never the same anymore. :) In fact, it get close to what the barrista would give me, wait, maybe better as it's cheaper!

    :) Krup has single serve machine too, but they uses nestle stuff, which i do not prefer due to some addtional ingredient, like non-dairy creamer incorporated into the sachet.

    I like my coffee as they are - without any artificle items inside. So it's bean and milk (frothed, no less)!

  9. I believe the Krup machine you refer to is the Dolce-Gusto. I tried the demo but didn't find it to my liking probably its because its half auto. The user will have to turn off the machine when you felt its enough water ... it can be good and bad. Good is it gives personal preference as some might like their drink not as thick. The bad is inconsistency. Might need a couple of trial before can get the right note for the espresso...

    i think i'll get one unit like yours ... saw many good reviews :)

    you got a nice blog though ... keep up the good work ;-)

  10. Patrick - this machine did not fail to deliver consistent measured espresso everytime. I am more than happy with it as it is fully auto. the Dolce Gutso runs on Nestle products, which is not a preference due to the additional ingredient added in - mostly transfat in the creamer.

    and thank you very much for the compliment. this is what kept me going and blogging over these years ;-)

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